Nigeria Customs has attributed malfunctional machines as reasons for arms smuggling into Nigeria.
This follows the report that Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service on Monday intercepted a Mack truck along Mile 2 Apapa Road containing 49 boxes of pump-action rifles.
Public Relations Officer of Apapa Custom command Emmanuel Ekpa said in an interview that the containers were smuggled because scanners at the ports were not working effectively.
Ekpa who spoke onbehalf of the controller of the command, Comptroller Jibrin Musa stated that in the whole federation, Apapa scanners are the only functional scanners and they are not optimal.
According to him, ” We have two scanners, fix scanner and the mobile scanner, all other scanners are not working in the whole federation. Mobile Scanner is bad while the fix scanner is presently working but not optimal. for Over six (6) Months, the mobile scanner has not been working.
Explaining how goods are cleared,The PRO said the risk management determines the examination to be conducted on goods.
He added that high risk goods are triggered for physical examination, while low risk goods are channelled through scanning.
On why Arms were not detected despite scanning the goods, he stressed that from the preliminary investigation carried out by the command, the container which carried the arms were not dropped by APM Terminal for examination, hinting that the container wasn’t scanned. ” Since the issue is under investigation, I don’t want to preampt” he said.
When asked about the actions of the government towards the faulty Machines, he said ” it is a policy issue which i will not be able to answer but the comptroller General of Customs has promised that something will be done about that”.
He however outlined lack of equipment for 1oo% physical examination on goods, for smooth running of their operation, as the major challenges hindering their duties.
” The Terminal Operators should provide adequate equipment for seemingless operation because when officers are given enabling equipment, there is a tendency for the job to be done smoothly”. he said